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Perspectives on Factors Impacting Youth’s Reentry into Residential Care: An Exploratory Study


Multiple placements in therapeutic residential care is expensive, and is associated with poor outcomes; thus, identifying barriers to successful reintegration into the home and community school settings is essential for developing appropriate post-discharge supports, and reducing societal costs. Participants were seven youth (four female; three White/Caucasian, one Black/African American, one Hispanic/Latino, two multi-racial) recently readmitted to a therapeutic residential care program and five of their primary caregivers (four female; four White/Caucasian, one Black/African American). Through semi-structured interviews with caregivers and youth, this exploratory study investigated (1) the perceptions of preparedness for the youth’s successful transition from therapeutic residential care to the home setting, (2) the post-discharge factors that contributed to the youth’s return to care, and (3) the lessons learned about the youth’s transition from therapeutic residential care to home. The results of this exploratory, qualitative study revealed rich information about youth and their caregivers’ perspectives about their experiences prior to returning to care, such as the importance of healthy relationships (family and peers), transition planning, and post-discharge supports at the individual, family, and school levels.

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The development and preparation of this manuscript was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), U.S. Department of Education, through Grants R324B110001 and R324A120260 to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

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Correspondence to Stacy-Ann A. January.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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January, SA.A., Trout, A.L., Huscroft-D’Angelo, J. et al. Perspectives on Factors Impacting Youth’s Reentry into Residential Care: An Exploratory Study. J Child Fam Stud 27, 2584–2595 (2018).

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  • Therapeutic residential care for youth
  • Voices of caregivers and youth
  • Multiple placements
  • Aftercare
  • Transition home